Boss wants to move on from opening day horror show
It seems a long time ago that Pompey took the pitch for the first game of the season.
There was a sense of optimism in the air as a new-look squad prepared to do battle.
But the mood quickly turned sour as the Blues slumped to a 4-1 defeat against Oxford at Fratton Park.
Plenty has changed as Pompey get ready for this weekend’s return fixture, however.
New manager Richie Barker has already started to reshape the side in his image, although he knows it will be tough against an Oxford side with promotion in their sights.
The Blues boss said: “They’re having a very good year and have been in the top three for just about the whole season – right from that dreaded first game that we’re all aware of.
“We obviously need to move on from that because if you’re not careful then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I wasn't at the club back then, but we’ll certainly be looking to put things right.
“They are where they are for a reason. We’re at the halfway point and they deserve to be high up in the table.
“It’s one of the fairly local games for us and it’s a nice stadium. It’s a game between two of the biggest clubs in this division, so I’m sure there will be a decent crowd.
“The pitch is nice and big, so hopefully there will be some decent football on show as well.”
New arrivals Nicky Shorey, Ryan Taylor and – pending international clearance – Jake Jervis will be hoping to feature at the Kassam Stadium.
And Barker’s squad will also be strengthened by the return of some players from the treatment table.
He said: “We’re hoping that Andy Barcham and Ricky Holmes will be doing some training which will enable them to be considered.
“Danny East probably won’t make it, but Simon Ferry’s trained all week and has been excellent.”
Pompey are 13/5 to beat Oxford with Sky Bet. Sign up for an account at www.skybet.com/pompey for great offers and to earn money for the club.